Objective: Habitual short sleep duration is a common practice linked to weight gain and risk of obesity. Our objective was to examine the association between sleep duration with other behaviors, such as physical activity and nutrition, which are important for obesity prevention efforts.
Methods: We used cross-sectional data from rural communities in Missouri, Tennessee, and Arkansas (N=1203). Controlling for covariates, we assessed the association between short sleep duration (<7 h vs. 7-8 h) and obesity, not meeting vigorous physical activity requirements, low fruit and vegetable consumption, high fat consumption, and frequently eating at fast food restaurants.
Results: The proportion of participants with habitual sleep duration of <7 h, 7-8 h, and > or =9 h was 36.2%, 57.3%, and 6.4%, respectively. After multivariable adjustment, short sleep duration was associated with certain obesity-related behaviors, particularly lower physical activity and lower fruit and vegetable consumption.
Conclusions: Short sleep duration is associated with risk behaviors that are known to promote weight gain and obesity. Interventions aimed at promoting physical activity and improved nutrition may benefit by considering adequate sleep duration as a potentially modifiable behavior that may impact the effectiveness of efforts to prevent obesity.